Conformity of Production (COP):
Prior to issuing any type approval certificate there is a need for Conformity of Production (COP) to be assessed. Conformity of production is required to ensure that there are adequate arrangements in place to ensure that subsequent products continue to meet and conform to the approved type and to monitor that these arrangements continue to be effective during the life of the approval.
There are two main routes for demonstrating COP compliance. The first method is through a recognised Quality Management System such as the ISO 9001:2000 series or ISO/TS16949. In conjunction with a recognised quality system, specific control plan that documents the ongoing tests/audits conducted throughout the production process.
As the requirement for a recognised quality management system is not mandatory the second method for demonstrating COP compliance is for manufacturer’s who do not have a recognised quality system. In these cases a quality manual and detailed control plans are required.
The quality manual and control plans should be detailed enough to ensure with a high degree of confidence that compliance with the relevant Directive or Regulations can be continually met. In conjunction with the quality manual and control plans a site visit may be required to ensure that the procedures supporting the application are in place.
Vehicle manufacturers or vehicle dealers who intend to obtain COP clearance should start this process in advance of any approval application as it can take some time to obtain COP clearance from the approval authority.
For manufactures requesting national type approval or individual type approval, the approval authority or its technical service shall verify by means of an initial assessment the satisfactory arrangements and procedures of their quality management System. Ensuring effective control so that systems, separate technical units or vehicles when “produced”; conform to the approved type.
In addition manufactures applying for type approval and/or EC Type Approval must also comply with the requirements of the product conformity. This means that the approval authority or its technical service shall verify that the adequate arrangements and control plans are conducted at specified intervals (Audits) to verify continued conformity with the approved type.
The approval authority or technical service will carry out surveillance activities. The frequency of verifications shall be such to ensure that the relevant controls applied in accordance with the initial assessment and product conformity arrangements are reviewed.